Boghossian goes nuclear!

“You should never start at a maybe.”

Peter Boghossian

The philosopher Stephen Law, in his book Believing Bullshit has called this principle “Going nuclear!” [1] 

‘Going nuclear’ is obviously an analogy for laying waste to the entire argument one is in. In this case it appears that Boghossian wants his students to be skeptical (some might say hyper-skeptical due to where he’s about to go) of religious claims. In order to get the right level of skepticism he says everything, apart from the cogito (I think therefore I am), ought to begin at 1.1 in the scale of doubt.

Okay. I wonder if Boghossian’s students did that? To do so they should have questioned the following at the very least before leaving class that day:

1] Is Boghossian talking to me (and what do I mean by ‘me’)?

2] Is he using reason now and if so why trust reason?

3] What if Boghossian is a personification of a deluded state of my subconscious (or even the Cartesian ‘evil demon’ himself)?

4] What evidence was given that I should doubt everything in my epistemic life to a 1.1 degree and how do I trust that evidence?

5] Why should I trust my memory when thinking about Boghossian’s lecture as I am doing right now?

Just a few things to think about then!





[1] GOING NUCLEAR on Law’s blog.

PS. Should the claim be modified so that only ‘extraordinary claims’ get treated with this kind of hyperbolic skepticism then it’s important we get to hear what the rationale is for the difference between an ordinary claim and an extraordinary one. Perhaps Boghossian does this later in the class which is a why it’s a shame the video is so short.


About aRemonstrant'sRamblings

I graduated in philosophy of religion many years ago and have since acquired my PGCE and now teach religion, ethics and philosophy.
This entry was posted in Atheism, Atheist apologists, Epistemology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Boghossian goes nuclear!

  1. Pingback: ‘A Manual for Creating Atheists’ Part 5.3: Delusions | aRemonstrant'sRamblings

  2. Pingback: ‘A Manual for Creating Atheists’ Part 5.4: “What if God told you…?” | aRemonstrant'sRamblings

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